Chewing bubblegum and kicking ass

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Anybody catch They Live on the Horror Channel last week? It’s one of my favourite movies ever, and definitely my favourite John Carpenter movie (yes, above Halloween, which you all know I am obsessed with too).

I first saw They Live back in the early 90’s and loved it immediately. My dad put it on (it’s one of his favourites too) and he knew I’d be hooked. Horror and sci-fi movies are as much of an influence on my comics and art as anything else. They Live has been a massive reference point for Heads! and will be a movie I’ll continue to watch periodically as I develop the story further. Though I keep getting told Heads! reminds people of Dick Tracy and The X-Files (which are influences), I’d say I draw a lot of my Heads! ideas and plot methods from They Live and Luther more than anything else.

If you are looking for some awesome new comics to read (other than mine, of course, which are free to read on this website) I urge you to go and back the Little Heroes Comics Anthology on Kickstarter. I love this charity and all it stands for, so I’d love to see more people supporting them. If you haven’t heard of them, they create and distribute comics creation kits to children staying in hospital wards. That’s a pretty awesome thing to do, in my opinion, so I insist you all go and either back the new anthology or donate to them so they can provide a kit to a child.

Make sure you are tuning into the Awesome Comics Podcast on Monday as I am their guest! Yep, these guys decided that it would be a good idea to have me talk on their show for two hours – a decision they may live to regret! I will be talking about all things comics, giving you all the low down on Heads! and re-capping on my experience of organising and hosting Wimbledon Comic Art Festival last November.

Radvent Day 2 – Do You Love Me

My second radvent post is a homage to one of my favourite bands – KISS!

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I’ve been a huge Kiss fan since I was a kid and have always loved this song. The opening lines always seemed to have a story of their own to tell, and as a comic creator I couldn’t help by latch onto that.

Visual storytelling is a huge part of what us comics creators do. So, I decided to take the start of this song and convey the imagery of it in actual illustration. Plus, I wanted to have a go at drawing Gene Simmons, which turned out to be loads of fun (even though it’s actually Paul Stanely who sings this one…)

This piece was really successful as a Valentine’s Day card earlier this year, so I had some A6 prints done for Wimbledon Comic Art Festival. There are still a few left, so head over to my store to grab one while they last!

Check back tomorrow for more #radvent!

Under the influence: Razor Blade Smile

“I bet you think you know all about vampires. Believe me….you know fuck all!”

I’ve been a fan of this low budget British vampire flick since it came out. As a massive fan of Hammer horror and 80s video nasties, Razor Blade Smile appealed to me as it clearly draws on both of these genres. There is plenty of sex, gore and tongue-in-cheek humour thoughout, as well as an over-blown plot, all of which adds up to an extremely entertaining B-movie. The movie follows Lilith Silver, hired gun assassin and centuries old vampire, who is slowly uncovering a sinister link between some of the people she has recently been hired to execute. I would absolutely love to work on a comic adaptation of this movie, or a mini series of the further adventures of Lilith Silver. If director Jake West or star Eileen Daly like the sound of this please get in touch!

I reviewed the movie for horror website The Slaughtered Bird and you can follow this link to read my review. Rather than duplicate the review here, I thought I’d talk about about why this movie has been an influence on my comics and art.

I love 80s and 90s horror, and anything that goes over the top is just fine with me. I also really like cheesy dialogue and humour in my B-movies, and Razor Blade Smile has this in spades. It bobs and weaves between the main plot and peering into the private lives of urban ‘vampires’, which has been a great inspiration to me in respect of constructing scripts and story ideas.

The look of the movie is suitably low budget and makes the most of pouring sexy scream queen Eileen Daly into an impossibly tight latex catsuit for and positioning her against stereotypical villain characters. The whole thing looks like its leapt out of the pages of a horror comic and jumped into your VHS player. There is blood everywhere and the sex / death scenes are erotic as they are gory. Its a constant go-to movie for me when it comes to wanting something that gives me my fix of any of these things and gives me repeated inspiration to draw and write B-movie style comics. Both Brutal Bombshells and Rock In Purgatory have been influenced by the type of outrageous visuals and scripting that Razor Blade Smile has to offer.

Its not a movie everyone will like. Given its low budget status its beyond the tastes of mainstream horror fans and due to its age (the movie was originally released in 1998) many new indie horror fans may either not have heard of it or find it dated. But if you like things like ‘Dead Hooker in a Trunk’ from the Soska Sister,s Razor Blade Smile’s production values will sit well with you.

For your vulgar delectation…..here’s the whole film….

Under the influence: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Nancy says 'No'

This movie ruined my childhood. I can’t express enough how terrified I was of Freddy Krueger as a kid. Everything about him is horrific. Specifically during the first three movies Freddy looked so scary and was a character so evil that he and his creator, Wes Craven, revolutionised horror.

It’s incredible that I ended up not just being a horror fan but also a big Elm Street fan. As my interest in other horror movies grew, through the excellent Hammer Horror output and movies like An American Werewolf In London and Halloween, I knew I’d have to face my childhood fears and face Freddy eventually. And when I did it was quite an experience. NOES was certainly scary but the creativity in it was mind blowing. Though still unsure of how safe I was in his knife-gloved hands I found myself watching all the movies in the franchise. My love for these movies started to grew out of a pseudo Stockholm syndrome and before I knew it I was nearly as much a fan as Brutal Bombshells script writer Craig Jex.

 

The first movie is like no other, but I’ve always felt that the second one features the scariest imagining of Freddy. Look at him in that movies, he’s fucking horrific! Dream Warriors was yet another massive jump in style and imagination, and is the movie that made me a Nancy fan. She was a perfect foil for Freddy, not just fighting him but finding the heart of his weaknesses. The fact that she has the courage to enter his dream world and fight him on his own turf is amazing, making it all the more upsetting when, ultimately, Freddy kills her.

I have a lot of Elm Street inspired art and Nancy features in a few pieces. In fact, though Freddy’s horror-chic is obviously conveyed, Nancy is more prominent an influence in my concepts and is a character I often come back to in my work.